Satellite Monitoring: An Innovative Solution for Water Management
In Kenya, in the region of Turkana County, a severe drought is threatening people's livelihoods and livestock. Agricultural production is close to none as the rainy season going from March to June remained a vain hope. The nearest borehole is sometimes walking days away and not all of the population is fit enough to make it, so many were forced to relocate.
However, Turkana County happens to have a large source of ground water. The problem is that if a well breaks, the reparation time is too long. Repairs used to come after a notification through mobile phone, but the majority of villagers have no access to phones devices and phone networks are missing in rural communities.
Villagers have now moved back after the drought as the boreholes have been repaired by the Diocese of Lodwar with the help of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The CRS, Lodwar Water and Sanitation Company, the county government, and SweetSense Inc, an American company that creates monitoring sensors for development projects, have partnered to implant remote satellite sensors that instantly alert local technicians of a breakdown.
The remote sensors are solar powered and send reports via satellite. SweetSense Inc. analyzes these reports on an online platform that lists the current status of all remote sensors and if the borehole is working, the pump is down or in need of repair, there is low water volume, or if there is no present sensor. The boreholes management in Turkana County are an example of how remote sensors can help a project being sustainable.